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ECOWAS Ministers of Trade & Industry meet on promoting trade & harmonizing standards

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The ECOWAS Ministers of Trade and Industry met virtually on the 3rd of June 2021, to consider key regional and continental trade related developments, Institutional arrangements, regional industrial standards and response to Covid-19.

In their welcome remarks on behalf the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Excellency Jean-Claude Kasi Brou , Mr. Tei KONZI, Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, and Mr. Mamadou TRAORE, Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion of the ECOWAS Commission, highlighted some of the initiatives take by ECOWAS towards deepening the regional trade and industrial development.

Ms. Maryam Katagum, the Federal Minister of State, Trade and Investment, of the Federal Re-public of chair of the meeting, expressed appreciation of the progress achieved by ECOWAS towards establishing a common market and encouraged them to work to ensure that the community citizens fully benefit from the AfCFTA. She acknowledged the challenges of COVID19 and the efforts taken to stimulate economic recovery. She expressed her gratitude to national experts for formulation of documents and to development partners for their financial and technical support.

The one-day Ministerial meeting was preceded by meeting of Industry Experts on the 27th of May and of Trade Experts on the 28th of May 2021, who discussed Trade and Industry related issues and made recommendations for consideration and adoption by Ministers in charge of Trade and Industry.

At the end of the meeting, the Ministers adopted several Decisions as, the Decision on the Establishment of the Regional Trade Facilitation Committee (RTFC); the Decision on the Establishment of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations’ Network; and the decision on the amendment of the statutes on the ECOWAS Business Council made by the Trade Experts.

Furthermore, the ministers adopted four regional standards on energy performance for electrical appliances; harmonized standards on water and sanitation; Procedures for the Harmonization of Technical Regulations in ECOWAS; General Rules of the Certification of ECOWAS Standards (ECOQMARK); the West Africa Post COVID -19 Industry Recovery Programme.

The ministers recommended them for endorsement by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and took note of the status of the AfCFTA negotiations and the evaluation of the volume of intra-regional trade taking into account informal cross-border trade.

In their closing remarks, Mr. Tei KONZI the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement; Mr. Mamadou TRAORE , Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion and Honorable KATAGUM, the Chair of the ministerial meeting, congratulated Minsters for engaging in fruitful deliberations leading to the formal adoption of relevant provisions for the Council of ministers and praised ECOWAS Commission for the quality of documents presented.

The meeting was attended by Ministers in charge of Trade and Industry in ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania. The ECOWAS and UEMOA Commission experts also participated in the meetings.

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